Justice beyond bars: exploring the restorative justice alternative for victims of rape and sexual assault.

Author:Kasparian, Amy
Position:Continuation of III. Facts C. Pilot Restorative Justice Programs Across the Globe through V. Conclusion, with footnotes, p. 30-54
  1. Before the Criminal Justice System

    1. South Australia: Sexual Assault Archival Study

    In South Australia, the Sexual Assault Archival Study (SAAS) was a 2005 archival study of nearly four hundred cases of youth sexual assaults, comparing the handling of youth sexual offense cases in court versus restorative justice conferences. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) This study was one of the first empirical studies on restorative justice and sexual assault with comparisons made between procedures, outcomes, and re-offense occurrences. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) In the conference program, if a youth had admitted to committing a sexual offense, he was given the option of trading the uncertainty of a potential conviction for the certainty of what might happen in a restorative justice conference. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

    The study concluded that, from a victim's perspective, restorative justice conferences are better than criminal prosecutions because victims were able to explain the impact of the offense to an admitted offender and challenge denials or excuses for offending. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) In contrast, nearly half of the cases that went to court were dismissed and thus the victims received no justice response. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Importantly, in terms of re-offending, youths who had completed the conference program had a significantly lower rate of re-offending than youths who went through the court system. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

  2. Within the Criminal Justice System

    1. United States--RESTORE

      In 2004, an Arizona program, RESTORE (Responsibility and Equity for Sexual Transgressions Offering a Restorative Experience), was the first project to use feminist and restorative justice principles to address a victim's needs in adult sexual violence cases. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) RESTORE operated within the criminal adversarial system because it was initiated through court referrals and an offender could avoid prosecution and a felony classification by completing the program. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The program operated in four stages: (1) referral and intake, (2) preparation, (3) conference, and (4) accountability and reintegration. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Eligibility was limited to first time offenders, acquaintance rapes, and non-penetrative offenses with minimal force. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Unfortunately, the RESTORE program closed in 2007 when its funding period ended, but it has had a strong influence on the establishment of other programs since (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

      RESTORE has been distinguished for its work combining restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence because it required offenders to undergo a year of intensive treatment regimes, ongoing monitoring, and monthly reviews. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Unfortunately, the program ultimately faced an external problem: prosecutors only referred the few cases they believed would not succeed in court. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) At the close of the program, 80% of the enrolled cases completed the program, and those offenders accepted responsibility in a noticeably different manner from their initial statements. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) None of the victims withdrew from the program after initiation and most stayed in contact with program personnel even after the offender had completed the exit meeting. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

    2. New Zealand: Project RESTORE-NZ

      In New Zealand, Project RESTORE-NZ offers pre-sentence conferencing for adult sexual assault cases. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) While the program was created with an explicit sexual assault focus, only a couple of the conferences have been conducted on sexual assault cases, with the majority of conferences being applied to family violence; therefore, the results should not be generalized. ((NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)) a Project RESTORE-NZ case begins with a referral from the district court, community members, or self-referrals and a contribution payment of about USD2000 paid by the offender. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The conference is conducted by a panel including: a restorative justice facilitator who has an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of sexual violence; two community experts; a victim specialist; an offender specialist with an understanding of restorative justice; and a clinical psychologist who provides professional supervision, but has no stake in the parties. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Project RESTORE-NZ researchers found that, while there was a high qualitative rate of success in the program, it would be a challenge to quantify the success in a way that would allow future support for the program. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Most victims tended to equate success in the program with the ability to address the underlying causes of the offense and hear the offender admit guilt in front of their community. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) jn order for future conferences to be successful, Project RESTORE-NZ researchers have emphasized the importance of having trained restorative justice personnel involved in the conferences and ensuring that there are appropriate resources in place. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

  3. After the Criminal Justice System

    1. United States: Victims' Voices Heard

    Victims' Voices Heard is a program in Delaware that works with victims of violent crime and general murder cases after the offender has been convicted. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The organization works after the criminal justice process is complete and provides victims with an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the person who committed a violent crime. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Offenders cannot use the fact that they met with the victim to achieve a reduced sentence. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Victims' Voices Heard works with the Department of Corrections to facilitate a dialogue between the victim and their offenders. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) in 2002, Victims' Voices Heard was funded by a federal grant, the Victims of Crime Act grant, and with the support of a non-profit agency called People's Place. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) it was later funded by the state through the Administrative Office of the Courts, until 2010 when it became its own non-profit agency. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

    The program was modeled after a type of restorative justice that is often used in neighborhoods to provide support for those harmed by a crime, in schools to resolve behavior problems, and in the workplace to address conflict. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The process was designed to help victims move on and begin their journey of healing. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Testimonials of rape survivors who participated in the program have commented that Victims' Voices Heard provided them with an opportunity to put a face to their offender, ask why the offender committed the crime, and hear an apology, thus helping them feel safer about the offender's eventual release. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

  4. Outside the Criminal Justice System

    1. Denmark: Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault--Hospital Setting

    Although jurisdictions generally do not yet implement restorative justice, some have created pilot centers to help sexual assault victims by operating outside of the criminal justice system. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The centers, often located in hospitals, operate as unified, one-stop-shops for victims to get all the help they need in dealing with their crime. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) They have become popular in Canada, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) These programs have received huge amounts of criticism, however, due to the heightened privacy risks associated with having social workers, hospital staff, police and attorneys all in one place where communication between these professionals is harmful to the victims. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)

    In Copenhagen, the Centre for Victims of Sexual Assault is a prime example of a comprehensive service that has recently implemented a restorative justice option for its patients. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) In 2004, an interdisciplinary team of medical, social worker, and psychological staff at the University Hospital of Copenhagen began to experiment with victim-offender meetings. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The program began when victims expressed an interest in meeting with their assailants and reporting the offense to the police. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) The program requires a degree of consistency in the victim and offender's description of what happened. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Victims undergo an extensive psychological process in order to prepare them before meeting with the offender. (NOTEREF _Ref22084817 \h \* MERGEFORMAT in 2004, sixteen victims came forward; ten wrote letters to offenders requesting a meeting; six offenders replied; and a few meetings were held. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Ultimately, victim participants were proud to have faced their greatest fear and grateful to have had the opportunity to regain their dignity. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT) Since 2004, interest in the program has remained rather constant with about fifteen victims requesting to participate per year. (NOTEREF _Ref220848217 \h \* MERGEFORMAT)


    1. The Needfor Change

      Implementation of a pre-conviction program that works with the criminal justice system, similar to the Arizona RESTORE model, would create a new way...

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